Put simply, we need to use small businesses or risk losing them

The catchment map highlighting a population of 3million within a 90-minute drive time of Springfields in Spalding. EMN-151124-173236001

The catchment map highlighting a population of 3million within a 90-minute drive time of Springfields in Spalding. EMN-151124-173236001

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CHAMBER CHATTER: By Phil Scarlett of Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce

Looking at my words from last year’s November column, I asked you to seriously consider shopping locally at Christmas – a sentiment I would reiterate this year.

By all means, search for items online, but before you hit the “buy” button, take the time to check out the local stores as you won’t have to pay any delivery charge or collect from a sorting office – and you can actually see what you’re buying.

Put simply, we need to use these smaller businesses or we will lose them.

On a similar theme, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the New Home and Garden Centre, at Springfields, with its luxurious new Noshery restaurant.

I’m told that Springfields and the outlet have jointly invested around £1million and it is certainly a dramatic and great refurbishment.

Next will soon be opening a new 10,000 square foot store and, with the addition of a new Craghopper, Dare2B and Regatta Outlet stores, the centre is fully occupied again this Christmas.

A couple of interesting statistics for you on Springfields. It has more than 2.4 million visitors per year, with the catchment map highlighting a population of three million within a 90-minute drive time of Springfields.

We should also recognise that with around 450 staff employed at the centre in more than 50 stores including M&S, Gap, Game, Radley and Sketchers, it is a major employer in the area.

Concluding on what may appear an advertisement for Springfields, I must thank its management team for supporting Spalding town centre with various initiatives, including the food festival and Christmas market.

Business Awards

This year’s awards took place earlier this month at Springfields Event Centre.

Each year, this event gets better and better.

I would like to thank our main sponsors, PSP Design and Development, which has helped us take it to a new level.

I must also mention the other award sponsors: Holbeach Academy, South Holland District Council, Definitions Health and Fitness, Ringrose Law, Duncan and Toplis, Chattertons Solicitors and the Butters Group.

We had two new sponsors this year, with the drinks reception being sponsored by Candour Associates and the program by Newton Press.

The judges were impressed by the quality of entries this year. The competition was stronger than ever and it is a significant achievement to have been honoured in the awards.

The standard of entries meant that it was difficult in most cases to clearly identify the winner, which is why we decided to recognise entries that narrowly failed to win a category by awarding them a highly commended or commended.

This years winner’s included Ringrose Law, The Voice, Holbeach Academy, Freshlinc, Lincs Computers and Kawstore.

The awards served as a celebration and showcase of the most inspiring examples of South Holland businesses and organisations and their performance, innovation and staff development, while also making a contribution to the community.

The keynote speaker was Major John Mayo, from Headquarters 7 Infantry Brigade, who entertained the audience with his tales of being in the military from Norway to the Falklands.

He also enlightened the audience on the benefits of hiring service personnel as employees.

It was a hugely enjoyable evening to be a part of.